60 percent of country's courts have set up platforms for improving services
More than 60 percent of Chinese courts have established online litigation filing platforms to ease procedures for initiating lawsuits and to improve efficiency, China's top court said on Nov 24.
A year after the Supreme People's Court issued a guideline urging all courts to set up their own platforms, 2,189 of the more than 3,500 Chinese courts have built litigation websites where litigants can make their appeals, consult judges and track their cases, according to a report released by the top court.
"They can receive judges' replies on whether their cases are filed or what additional materials they should submit," said Zhou Qiang, the nation's top judge, adding that it saves time for litigants and judges.
For example, the Nanjing Intermediate People's Court received 48 cases via the online platform during a pilot program in January last year, but now it has had at least 360 cases filed monthly this way, the report said.
All courts in 13 provinces and municipalities have used the websites, the report said.
Zhou highlighted the importance of the litigation websites, urging they be extended across the country, and he also applauded the 781 courts that have offered legal services on smartphones.
Hu Daocai, president of Nanjing Intermediate People's Court, said the online litigation platform can also cut the cost of lawsuits, such as traveling expenses, "and we estimate it will be a key way for courts to accept cases and will account for 50 percent of the total number of case filings in the next five years."
Dong Bingbing, a judge at the Shushan court in Anhui province, said litigants in the service center can also leave a message and make a video to clarify appeals via a mobile device, in addition to filing a case online. Since January his court has accepted about 2,300 cases via the website.
A litigant surnamed Wu, 66, finished filing her case with the assistance of legal officers at Shushan court. "It's a challenge to surf the Internet at my age, but I was told I can follow my case after swiping my identity card on the device. It's convenient," she said.
Dong said the center will provide more help for older litigants to use the device, in addition to face-to-face litigation.
"Safeguarding the security of the websites will also be taken into consideration," he said.
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